Monday, June 30, 2008

Monthly Letters

After lunch today we spent some time writing letters to the kids we sponsor in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This was the first time Brigg actually wrote the whole letter himself.

Now that is one determined look on his face. And he did mention the fact that Darkernue was like his "brother in Africa". Brigg loves that. He said he always wanted a brother!

A Nalani has a new little girl she is writing to since Phoebe passed away...her name is Assanatu.

And she worked very hard and writing her name on the picture she drew for her. You can see her looking at the letters and then writing them on her paper. Too sweet.
They love doing this. I love that maybe in some small way their eyes are being opened to a much greater picture at an early age.
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Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Moth

Last night Paul was mowing the lawn.

When he came across this.

He ran inside and got the kids and they came out with flashlights in hand.

It really was a very cool moth. If you click on the photos, they will enlarge and you can see all the detail. Pretty amazing.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

Adam and Eve on the golf course

We have this book called The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. It's a great book. On nights when we are home, the kids will each pick a book for us to read to them and I'll read them a story from this book. It's some of the main stories from the bible, but written in a kid-friendly (AND cassie & paul-friendly) way. So last week we read the story of Adam and Eve. The kids kind of giggled when it said something about Adam and Eve being embarrassed after they ate the fruit because they were naked. (I think just the word "naked" cracked the kids up). forward a couple days.
Brigg was golfing at golf lessons and he duffed it. He walked up to the cart and said to me with wide eyes, "Mom, that was totally embarrassing." (there are 3 other kids in our group and their parent). I kind of brushed it off and reminded him that this was just for fun and everyone has a bad shot now and then. Didn't think another thing about it and we finished out the hole.
Fast forward to today...another Friday golf lesson.
We pulled up to Hole 2 and this is our conversation:
Brigg: Oh great. This is the hole that I was so embarrassed on last week.
Me: Brigg, that's just silly. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Brigg: Why was I so embarrassed?
Me: I have no idea, Brigg. You shouldn't have been.
Brigg: It's all because they ate the fruit.
Me: What? WHO ate the fruit?
Brigg: Adam and Eve. I was embarrassed because they ate the fruit. People didn't used to feel embarrassed until they ate the fruit. Why did they have to eat the fruit? Why didn't they just listen to God?

Well, I guess that's quite the perspective from a six year old!

Playing catch

About a month ago on a Saturday Paul got home from work and he was tired. Brigg wanted to go out a play catch. Paul was going to go out with him, but I could tell he didn't really want to. So I said, "I want to go play catch with him." He and Brigg BOTH looked at me almost cross-eyed and said, "What?" Paul said, "That's ok. I'll go out with him." I said, "No. I really do want to go out a play catch with him." (Ayla was sleeping, Lani was playing in her room and usually I would take advantage and use this time to do a load of laundry or dishes or sit on the computer and surf blogs.) So I went out with him. And he couldn't believe it. Similar to the post where Brigg realized his mother was actually kind of funny, this day he realized I actually knew how to play catch. I could catch the ball. And throw it, too! Amazing. By about my 5th throw he said, "Mom, you know how to play catch!!" DUH! It's so funny the things we think they know about us. As we were playing, I looked over at the house and Paul was standing at the door watching...I'm sure thinking to himself, "Please, please do not teach him how to throw like a girl!" :) And since that day I think Brigg's view of me has changed. And I think that if given the choice who to play catch with, he may think about it for 10 seconds or so...before picking Daddy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

With each child, I had one item that I fell in love with and found to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

With Brigg I LOVED the sleeping gowns. I was figuring out the whole nursing/diaper changing schedule and in the middle of the night it was so nice not to deal with snaps and zippers. He was also a summer baby, so there were no concerns about him getting cold at night. So he would often be found in one of these:

With Nalani it was Bobux or Robeez. I LOVED these things. She got her first pair around 6 months and she wore them until she was 2 1/2. I wish they made them in adult sizes!!

And now with Ayla. When I was leaving the hospital with her, I had to have my little meeting with a nurse who told me all the things I should and should not be doing with my third child (and I'm pretty sure she had no children of her own). She said, "One thing that may have changed since you had your last baby is that you are not supposed to have ANY loose blankets in the bed with her." Ok. Well how do you keep her warm? I found this. I love it. I love the little pea pod on it. The zipper starts at the top, by her neck and then zips down towards her feet. That way the zipper isn't poking in her neck. Genius! It's perfect for when you have the air on in the summer and she needs a light blanket. I think every newborn should have one. Better than sliced bread, I tell ya!

So what are some of your "must haves" with your little ones?? As Ayla is moving into a new stage, I'm wondering what else has changed since my last one!! (And it would be fun to hear what you moms of moms out there thought was so spectacular when WE were kids!)

Nobody will ever really understand

4 years. As of July, we have lived in this house for 4 full years. It has been crazy. This has been our biggest "project" ever. And it will never be done. This has been Paul's "thing" for 4 years. So many late nights, weekends, vacations have been dedicated to making this house our home. It has transformed right before our eyes. We loved it from the moment we stepped on the front porch. And not only has Paul made little updates here and there, but he has done each project with great detail and the utmost care. From handmade thresh holds...

to a hallway railing done pole by pole.

of the hundreds and hundreds of bricks he layed in the backyard, not one was left unchecked for perfect alignment and leveled numerous times. It was almost painful for me to watch from a distance. And I'm not even going to go into the deails of that concrete stamped patio. The memories are still a little too fresh with that one...

to each 2x4 and the million of nails...

We have been thinking about listing our house for sale. We are so torn because really, nobody will ever understand the blood, sweat and tears that have been poured into this house (which I'm sure is true with many houses we have looked at in the past). Dad and Paul literally spent hundreds of man hours upstairs renovating it from one huge room of rafters to 2 bedrooms, a walk-in closet and a full bath. Every single project done by the 2 of them alone. I feel like each person that walks through these doors needs to hear how much love has been put into each and every room. And don't even get me started on the amazing neighbors we have here. The friends that have made...and the trials we have been through with them and then even losing Lyn to cancer.

But this just may be the house that has pushed us over the edge. We have always owned homes that need "work". But this has been so much more than that. And one day we just woke up and felt like saying..."We're done. We're kinda ready to move on." So instead of working on a project, maybe we can do nothing for a day on the weekend. I don't know. We are having mixed feelings. So we're thinking about it. And tossing around ideas in our head. We'll see what happens here in the near future. Until then, we have been reminiscing about the past 4 years and "The House the Paul Built"! (and dad, too!!)
I'm not sure I'll ever be able to express how amazed I am by this man and how proud I am of who he is and what he does. So thankful for his hard work to provide for his family. I don't deserve him.

View this montage created at One True Media
The house that Paul built

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Do you ever have those moments?

Those moments when you look around you and think "Wow. I am totally not mature enough to be responsible for all this. For the 3 kids. For marriage. For this house. For the bills. For the decisions that need to be made that will affect our future. I really don't think I can do it." I have those moments. Often. (Especially the three kids part!) Having one of those moments right now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It has been a bit more difficult to get any reading in since 11/9/07...but I am trying. I'm slowly working my way through some unread books that have been sitting on my nightstand. Most recently, I have been reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (with whom I loved even more after he posted a comment on this post on Jody's blog). A couple thoughts that hit home tonight...

"A good marriage is not something you find, it's something you work for." - The fact that we have to work hard at our marriages is nothing to hide. If you aren't working hard at it, then I think something is wrong. Marriage isn't easy. A perfect one doesn't just fall in to our laps and we live happily ever after. It's work. And it's totally worth it.

"A spiritually alive marriage will remain a marriage of two individuals in pursuit of a common vision outside themselves." -Loving the idea that we are still two individuals here in this marriage. We don't both have the exact same passions. We both have our own desires and our own unique goals. But we are working hard and pursuing a vision OUTSIDE of ourselves...outside of just our dreams of a perfect little easy life. I love to think about how our 2 individual personalities will collide to reach out beyond ourselves and our own personal happiness. Because as Gary Thomas states, "marriage was not created to make you happy, but to make you holy."

Off to continue working my way through this stack of books...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ayla the rockstar...

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Lani at cheerleading tonight...

Um, I'm thinking she got my cheerleading abilities...that would be her doing a toe touch in the last pic. :)
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A nap

He really is sleeping. I don't know the last time Brigg took a nap. But the other day after swimming lessons, this is how I found him. It's been a tough summer! HA!
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Creative Family

I just finished reading Amanda Blake Soule's The Creative Family. It's pretty over the top, but I did get some pretty good ideas from it. One of which was Family Art Night. I started by going out and purchasing some new art supplies that would be used only for family art night (otherwise Nalani would use them all up in one night). I made the mistake of taking Lani with me to buy them and I thought she was going to have a heart attack right there in the store from pure excitement. But she survived. And the supplies were bought.

So we pulled them out tonight and we worked on our first paintings. It was fun. And this is what we came up with. (be nice. we are novice painters). Paul went for the Bob Ross look and he made some "happy little trees" in his painting. I got called away in the middle of mine and plan on finishing it during our next family art night.

Amanda Blake Soule says that we can all be artists but that at some point in our lives someone told us we were no good and we listened. I'm sorry. But I'm pretty sure whoever told me that had a reason for saying it!! :)
But I'll keep trying. And having fun doing it.
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A daddy and his girls

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The best $8.44 I ever spent

We bought this little baby pool right before Brigg turned 1.

On July 13 he will be turning 7.

And yes, they STILL play in it. We get it out and fill it up almost every single summer evening that we spend outside. It was $8.44. That is less than $1.50 a year for endless hours of fun. Buy one.
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Before supper tonight

Paul was working late and the kids had been fighting all day long. (Does this ever stop?!?)

So I told them to go get their suits on and play in the water while I grilled supper.

By the time the food was waiting on their plates, they were soaking wet and squealing with delight.

Um yes. We are more than ready for summer around here!
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My Oreo-lovin' Global Mama!!

A big thank you goes out to my cousin Gale for not only clothing my child in this adorable dress made be Global Mama, but also for keeping them entertained with these fabulous Oreos for children of all ages!! :)

When Ayla was born Gale sent this dress for her. I was SO excited about it! The story was on the tag. Here's a little tid-bit on Global Mamas:
"Global Mamas is the name brand for goods produced through the efforts of Women in Progress, an international not-for-profit organization assisting women of Africa in attaining economic independence. All proceeds made by Global Mamas’ sales go directly to the women producing the merchandise and to the business development programs carried out by Women in Progress. Sales of Global Mamas’ products provide dignity to African women who are now able to earn an honest living through the production of handmade batik products. By helping women to help themselves, Global Mamas is taking small steps towards helping end Africa’s dependence on foreign aid and creating a sustainable society.
By purchasing Global Mamas’ products, you are offering Sustainable livelihoods to women in Africa "
LOVE that!
And don't even try to tell me that it's not the most adorable dress you have ever seen! Plus, it is reversible!
Visit Global Mamas and get one for yourself! (or your baby!!)

Now when Nalani was a baby, we went to visit Gale and Livi. Lani and Brigg both fell in love with these little Oreos. They are actually intended for children ages 3-7, but that is only if you are going to play the matching game with them. If you are just going to pull them apart and chew on them, they are for children of all ages!!

So I pulled them out the other day. They had been packed away in the basement with all the other "baby" toys. And guess what! Ayla loved them as much as Nalani did. And THIS time, Brigg and Nalani started playing the matching game with them! Multi-purpose!!

So a big thank-you to Gale. You always seem to have the perfect gift ideas!!
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008